If you are an aspiring classical musician or simply a lover of the genre itself, here are some of Europe’s most beautiful and hidden concert halls to visit, as well as what makes them so significant! Read on to discover the places where the groundwork for classical music was laid.
Europe certainly established a culture of perfectionism throughout its history, most often recognized in its music. The likes of Bach, Mozart, and Satie to name a few; ushered eras of enlightenment and contributed centuries worth of knowledge to today’s musicians. It is difficult, however, to decide which countries and concert halls to put on your bucket list, for great music emanates from virtually every one of them.
Mozartwohnung / Mozart House
Naturally, no article regarding classical music is complete without mention of Austria, ergo, Mozart. When I was in high school, my music class and I took a bus to stay in Vienna for five days. Two of those days were occupied by visits to Mozarthaus, or Mozart House, located in central Vienna. This is a museum built inside Mozart’s actual apartment where he lived between 1784 and 1787. A portion of the building is dedicated to exhibiting authentic scores written by the virtuoso, as well as cool pieces of tech that teach the principles of composition in a fun and interactive manner. The best part though, is that the establishment organizes small concerts – usually string quartets – to perform the pieces in the same room they were written in years ago. This is a cool piece of history (as well as a great excuse to visit Vienna) suitable for anyone and offers a truly profound musical experience seldom found anywhere else. If this were your only stop, it would be a good one, for it is also one of the most historically significant buildings in the world.
Maisons Satie / Satie House
There’s plenty of reasons to visit the region of Normandy, in addition to the quaint towns that surround it. What one may not know prior to visiting, however, is that one of these quant towns, Honfleur, is the birthplace of Eric Satie, a French composer who pioneered the genre of Romantic impressionism. The Satie House is one of many vintage homes located along the French coast, but it contains a fascinating and unique exhibition, including: paintings, sculptures, art-films, and original compositions left behind by the eccentric composer. The most memorable part of this museum during my visit was the music room. Renovated and painted pure white, it sits out of place from the rest of the rustic structure. A single, self-playing piano stands in the middle, illuminated by a single sky-light, performing some of Satie’s best solo compositions. I found it difficult to leave, as the room urges you to listen and imagine what it could have sounded like to be in the presence of Satie. Though I am a bit biased (Satie is one of my favorite composers,) the town of Honfleur is a magical place to visit, and full of such wonders as this. As with the Mozart House, this is one of the few places in Europe you can visit to truly envision and experience what inspired these great artists back then.
Bachhaus Eisenach / Bach House Eisenach
Last on this list is the house of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the first classical composers ushering out of the Baroque period. Located in the region of Thuringia, Eisenach is a quaint town similar to Honfleur. Located almost 4 hours away from Berlin by car, the Bachhaus Eisenach is separated into two portions – a modern museum, exhibiting some of the most valuable pieces of history on display today. The other is Bach’s birth house, which is often the location of small performances, either inside or out in the gorgeous and idyllic garden. Once again, this is an excellent opportunity to experience classical music at its purest. If you are looking for inspiration, or simply interested in the history, this is a must-see!
For many musicians, it can be helpful to search for inspiration in the places our idols found them in. Having visited just a few of those myself, I cannot stress how true this is. While experiencing a grand concert in a hall is its own experience, the appeal in listening to music where it was created, often performed by musicians for free, out of passion and admiration, motivates a sense of creativity in any artist.
Tom is classically trained in music, and visited numerous venues and exhibitions of classical music.